Pontormo, Bronzino, Andrea del Sarto, Rosso, Vasari—in 2016, the Städel Museum had stage a major exhibition of superb works presenting the distinguished painters of Florentine Mannerism for the first time in Germany. With the aid of prominent loans, the show acquainted the public with a key chapter in the history of Italian art in all its diversity. Spanning the period from the return of the Medici to Florence in 1512 and the initial artistic endeavours of the new generation around Pontormo and Rosso to the 1568 publication of Vasari’s Lives—artist biographies that still bear an influence today—, “Maniera” was devoted to Florence as the first centre of European Mannerism.
More than 120 precious loans, including paintings as well as drawings and sculptures, provided an unprecedented overview of a stylistically formative epoch for which the art historiographer Giorgio Vasari coined the colourful term “maniera”. Elegant, cultivated and artificial, but also capricious, extravagant and sometimes even bizarre: the art of Mannerism exhibits many facets. In 1967, the art historian John Shearman summed it up in a catchy formula—“the stylish style”. Its sophisticated grace and creative tenacity make the “maniera” one of the most fascinating phenomena in the art of Italy.
One of the most exquisite works in the Städel holdings—Bronzino’s famous Portrait of a Lady in Red (Francesca Salviati?) (ca. 1533)—formed the point of departure for this ambitious show. The project was carried out with special support from the museums of Florence, above all the Uffizi, the Galleria dell’Accademia and the Galleria Palatina. Further key loans came from such prominent museums as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Paris Louvre, the Prado and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, the Szépművészeti Múzeum in Budapest and the Brera in Milan.
Curator: Dr. Bastian Eclercy (Head Italian, French, and Spanish Paintings before 1800, Städel Museum)
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